6 Tips for Visiting Alaska

Here are 6 more tips for visiting Alaska!

Wildlife

We have some pretty incredible wildlife here. We also have some pretty bold wildlife as well.

We can’t “make the wildlife show up” when we want to see them, but when they do come out, it is something to see!

Wildlife can also be dangerous.

Year after year, locals spend a lot of time trying to warn people about safety when it comes to our wild animals. People do not always listen, though.

When you see a Moose, Bear, Lynx…or even a porcupine (the list is endless) off the side of the road, of course, you want a picture! I mean, who wouldn’t?!

Visiting Alaska
Moose bedded down in the Willows at Rainbow.

Taking pictures is an excellent thing to do; after all, you want to be able to share what you saw with family and friends when you get home, right?

Absolutely!

Be safe when stopping to take pictures. Don’t stay in the middle of the road and exit your vehicle. If you see something that is a shot of a lifetime that you cannot live without, that is great! Just pull off the road as to not block traffic, but, DO NOT approach the animal, and DO NOT try to feed it! Please.

For those of you wondering…Yes, this is a thing. 

comic
Image Credit: Tundra Comics

What to Wear

Our weather patterns vary dramatically, depending on what part of Alaska you are in. 

For that matter, sometimes the weather can change so fast that just fixing supper and going back outside can feel like a whole ‘nother season!

Most people visit Alaska in the summer months. (June-August)

This past summer (2019), we were all burning up as records were broken across the state. While this was out of the norm for us, this is one example of how unpredictable our weather patterns can be.

Cloud cover plays a huge role in how the temperatures will feel. Fifty degrees in cloud cover and light rain will feel much different than 50 degrees in full sun.

The coastal regions like Valdez vary significantly from the interior, such as North Pole, both in the summer and winter months.

Depending on where you are from, what kind of weather you are accustomed to, and what you will be doing will all play a factor in the “what to wear” question.

bridge
McCarthy Road

Layers are always good. Just like with spare fuel, you can’t go wrong having a coat or hoodie that you can take off if you get hot, but if you get cold and don’t have one, then you are just going to stay cold.

Dress for comfort and have a good pair of hiking shoes/boots.

I personally love my Keens. So does Daryl! We have put them through the wringer and they are still going!

Everything is pretty laid back here, and we like it that way. For a lot of us, tossing our hair up in a ponytail, and throwing on a hat is a daily thing, and completely normal. Grab a pair of shades, and off ya go! 

I have heard many tourists say, “this is wonderful and free!” (I would agree!)

Itineraries

I have always been a planner when it comes to going and doing stuff. Daryl, not so much. We usually meet in the middle and have some game plan about where we are going, although we might get off the beaten path in the midst of it.

Then again, sometimes I get a wild hair and go from hibernation mode to hopping in the truck and taking off. 

Having a list of things that you want to see or do is excellent! But, don’t get so caught up in that schedule that you forget to have fun, and enjoy yourself!

Alaska is HUGE, and the drive time that most GPS gives is inaccurate in rural areas. Add in stops to take pictures, the extended sunlight in the summer, a convoy of RVs, road construction, and your 6-hour plan can turn to 12 pretty quick.

Road Construction
Summer Road Construction. Richardson Highway.

I have seen people lose their minds over “not being able to stick to their itineraries.” It always makes me sad on the occasion that I witness this when they are here on vacation. 

Calm down and enjoy yourself if you get off schedule. I mean, you are here to enjoy the views and relax, right?

Alaska 511 is a great resource for road conditions, just in case the planner in you needs an app for that!

Locals & Tourists

Many people are friendly when they come to visit our beautiful state. We love meeting new people and finding out where everyone is from. But then you have the grownups who act a fool over stupid things.

Yeah, I just said that. 

Yelling at our baristas and other store workers are examples of what not to do! (no one should be doing this anywhere, really.)

You won’t find a Starbucks unless you’re in the city. Having a meltdown is not going to change that fact.

You are either coming here or are already here, to get the ALASKAN EXPERIENCE. Our local Coffee Huts are great, and we all get to support locally owned Alaskan businesses. 

Chill out and have a cup of Joe!

Rule of thumb: Support local, and don’t be an ass. Pretty simple, right?

Have a Playlist

When you are off the beaten path, you are not going to pick up a radio station. And by off the beaten path, I mean out of the cities, which is where most of Alaska is.

An example of this would be leaving the “Valley” otherwise known as the Anchorage, Palmer, Wasilla area headed towards Glennallen. Once you get in the hills, the city stations turn to static air pretty quickly. 

Or, you can go with the no music option and roll the windows down and enjoy the fresh mountain air and enjoy the view!

Buy a Thermacell (or skeeter dope)

Although this may seem like a no brainer to some, many people do not know just how large the mosquito population is here in Alaska. The population of mosquitos is large, and the mosquitoes themselves are giant as well.

Then again, nothing is tiny here, ha-ha!

Different people have different preferences as to what repellant they choose. We love the Thermacell because it does not involve having to spray and respray ourselves every few minutes.

We changed to this when our favorite bug dope wouldn’t ship here, and it’s been amazing. 

Do you have questions that you would like us to answer? We would love to, and if we don’t know the answer, we will find it! Feel free to ask!

You might also enjoy 4 Tips for visiting Alaska.

Until next time…

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